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laurmurf

BEEHAUS

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Well, well, well. Thanks for that, Redwing. I had no idea quite how reactionary and cliquey areas of the beekeeping fraternity could be until I read that thread; I hope it's just an attitude problem with that particular forum and not beekeepers in general.

 

...

 

:lol: Actually, that forum is one of the friendlier ones! Beekeepers do rather tend to be reactionary, as we've found in our first year of beekeeping.

 

I've joined this forum because we're genuinely interested in the Beehaus. A plastic hive that's compatible with National frames would be just the ticket for us. We won't be so interested if it's not compatible with existing systems, though.

 

In defence of the old guard amongst the beekeepers, there is a real concern that the huge number of new beekeepers will abandon their hobby as soon as the going gets tough. Clumsy management of hives by beginners has contributed to a record number of swarms this year. And no-one wants to see a large number of colonies dying of hunger and cold in the coming winter simply because people don't know what to do for the best.

 

We went on a course at the beginning of the year, but even that only really scratched the surface. There's a huge amount to learn, and we don't know much at all. We're fortunate in that we're being mentored by the local BKA for our first year.

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Bees next on my wishlist now I have chickens, very helpful to have all this info, clearly a major committment to get involved. Was thinking about keeping them on allotment, does anyone else do this?

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Happy Chickens, I don't, but have heard on other forums of people doing that. Generally a mixed success: as with everyone else, some allotment holders are very pro-bee. some are phobic. Sadly beginners (like me!) are more likely to upset the bees by handling them badly, or loose a swarm, so I think a fair number of allotments will only allow more experienced beeks to set up hives on site - frustrating for beginners like us, but perfectly reasonable from the point-of-view of fellow plotholders.

However, if you live in a town, there could be plenty of odd places you could find the owners happy to let you put a hive: factory sites and other industrial units for instance often have little out-the-way corners, and companies do like something "green and eco" to put in their annual reports! Railway sidings, any disused wasteland that's reasonably secure in fact. Not-too-far-away farmland is also an option, some farmers would be happy to let you put a hive in a quiet corner in exchange for some honey. Local colleges and uni's may be interested (local schools could be too, but that brings with it a bunch of security/vandalism worries and having to deal with angry parents). There are loads of options other than gardens for keeping hives, for both urban and rural beeks.

If you join the British Beekeepers assoc you get public liability insurance, which would be important if you're putting your hive in /near someones' place of work.

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You can already get polly hives, and whilst they have a lot of advantages the biggie is they can't be blow-torched clean; the only other thing is ...formic (maybe..?) acid which would damage plastics. I'm not sure that dishwashing /power washing would do anything other than dislodge the crud (you wouldn't power wash medical sharps and re-use them) the bacteria of AFB (and to a lesser extent, EFB) form spores which are very difficult to get rid of. Red mite is the main chicken-house-bourne pest and of course powerwashing would get rid of that, but am just not sure is same for bacteria.

Having said that....AFB and EFB are reasonably rare in the UK though, and people with polly hives do manage (replacing them if all else fails).

What I don't get is the advantage over a polly hive. Maybe they are easier to move to the heather?

Also, I do like my hives not to look interesting or eye-catching in case of vandalism /theft. They're jsut sited somewhere more vulnerable to theft than in a garden.

 

Virkon S or something similar might on the surface appear to clean the inside of a hive, although conventional plastic/polystyrene hives, just like wooden hives have many micro voids where spores can remain (for between 30 and 50 years in the case of AFB) hence the need for scorching, or dipping in paraffin wax at 150 deg C for normal sterilisation and in the case of AFB disposal by burning of the hive body floor and roof.

 

The problem is that when diagnosis is confirmed you don't want to disturb any spores and with AFB you HAVE to dispose of the hives, frames, bees and and brood on site, or they have to be securely packaged up with multiple layers of protection and then moved to a high temperature disposal facility.

 

https://secure.csl.gov.uk/beebase/pdfs/fbleaflet.pdf

 

See page 34

 

"The spores of AFB in particular are strongly resistant to virtually all sterilising agents."

 

Note the above DEFRA/FERA leaflet was written around the use of wooden hives and hive parts as they form the vast majority of hives used in the UK. But I'll be asking someone from the National Bee Unit at DEFRA/FERA some very specific questions about polystyrene/plastic hives and diseases such as EFB and AFB in the coming week.

 

Polystyrene hives do appear to offer better overwintering for bees, faster build up in spring, reduced condensations and reduced heat build up in summer, but other than that they appear to be fatally flawed when disease strikes.

 

Polystrene hives also don't make it any easier to move a hive to the heather, cedar is relatively light at 390kg/m^3...expanded polystyrene is 1050kg/m^3 .......2.7 times as much!

 

http://www.sykestimber.co.uk/timber/westernredcedar.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystyrene_foam

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What about if those interested in bee keeping to attend a compulsory course and earn a certificate to prove they have the inclination and know how to keep bees properly? Then armed with said certificate they can get their bees. Maybe that would stop those few who would get bees as it's fashionable to do so and prevent the huge swarms that can occur from uphappy colonies?

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There is talk about beekeepers having to register and have licenses, however as things stand, anyone can keep bees. Most responsible beekeepers join their local association, and get insurance as part of their membership fee.

 

I can see the advantages to a licensing scheme, but you know how we all feel every time the issue of 'registering' our backgarden poultry flocks is raised! It would be quite costly to administer.

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There is talk about beekeepers having to register and have licenses, however as things stand, anyone can keep bees. Most responsible beekeepers join their local association, and get insurance as part of their membership fee.

 

I can see the advantages to a licensing scheme, but you know how we all feel every time the issue of 'registering' our backgarden poultry flocks is raised! It would be quite costly to administer.

 

at least there isn't the worry with the whole flock of chickens leaving en masse as they aren't happy and harrassing the neighbours :lol: Would be a sight to see though; angry chickens bok-boking down the street :lol:

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:D or flying off in a huge cloud .... luckily that's never going to happen!

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:lol: I somehow can't see them clustering in a tree either.

 

In answer to the allotment question; a friend keeps hers 'up the lottie' and the other owners are supportive- she's flooded with buyers for her honey too.

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Thanks for the more detailed info m100. My understanding is that in mainland Europe in particular poly hives are really popular - how do they deal with AFB/EFB there? I'm asking out of interest only, not to stir further debate - also, I like my wooden hives! I was wondering what advantage the Beehaus has over poly hives - I guess we need to wait till more detail is released.

 

bluekarin: bees swarm to reproduce (each colony has one queen, so to increase the overall population of colonies they have to swarm) and they tend to do it when there are a decent number of bees in the original colony, so arguably the desire to swarm is often a sign of reasonably happy bees. However beeks will try to avoid losing a swarm by various means - beginners are more likely to struggle to spot queen cells (larvae which are destined to become queens) and act on them appropriately, so the swarm will be lost. If the swarm then sets up home somewhere inappropriate (cavity wall, chimney etc ) then it's pretty anti-social to the poor soul who lives there, also they are likely to become diseased (varroa being almost unavoidable, but also foul brood and the like) then they will spread that disease to other colonies.

 

Dunno about a licensing scheme.... I always like to think that people have more common sense than to need such babying, but then I'm frequently proved wrong in that view :lol: !

 

I do like the idea ofn flocks of ferral chickens descending on unsuspecting people and taking up residence in garden shed (or more likely the kitchen!)

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....and prevent the huge swarms that can occur from uphappy colonies?

 

A bee that has swarmed will be happy, stuffed as it is to the eyeballs with honey and off on its holidays to pastures new. Bad bee keepers tend to have knack of killing their bees / the queen before they can produce a huge colony.

 

:)

 

 

Clumsy management of hives by beginners has contributed to a record number of swarms this year.

 

I've not seen or heard reported any evidence to support that. Bees have really struggled in the past two years in particular, so any return to the norm is really noticeable. 2006-2008 are the worst back to back years for over 30 years according to a few ancient local bee keepers and from chats to others elsewhere in the UK. One local Master Bee Keeper who has very successfully kept bees for over 20 years lost all his colonies in 2008.

 

While there have been many more swarms this year some have attributed this to the cold winter, meaning a longer broodless period, relatively dry frost free April with plenty of early pollen, and hence a reduction in varroa infestation and a rapid increase in brood size. Thriving feral colonies in long established locations have been much in evidence and swarms from these have been extremely large and healthy. In the past few weeks I've have also heard of varroa drop counts from zero to five per week almost off the bottom of the DEFRA/FERA treatment scale.

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and that is why I don't have bees - I don't know anything about keeping them! I would naturally assume that anything that is pet-like and leaves home is unhappy. :lol:

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My understanding is that in mainland Europe in particular poly hives are really popular - how do they deal with AFB/EFB there?

 

I think, although I can't be totally sure that they treat in the same way as the USA, with antibiotics for AFB, although I'd suspect that they also burn off site in some countries.

 

Americans routinely shovel heaps of antibiotics into their hives, see clear evidence of this on the recent BBC programme "Who Killed the Honey Bee?", the white powder you see shovelled onto the top of the brood chamber at one point in the programme is Oxytetracycline although nothing is said about this in the narration!

 

Who Killed the Honey Bee? is on again next Monday 27th July at 19:30 on BBC Four

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jzjys

 

The standard of bee keeping in the USA shown in this programme is truly dire, from the rough handling, the deep black old comb fit only for the bonfire, the industrial application of drugs and chemicals, the sp"Ooops, word censored!" (really non existent!) forage shown in the desert valley, the extensive use of corn syrup (fructose) rather than sucrose for feeding. The list goes on and on.

 

No wonder their bees are keeling over in their billions.

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A minor correction to m100's comment about the weight of poly hives. The density of the material used is around 100 kg/m^3 not 1050. The latter is the density of the unexpanded polystyrene. However, although lighter than wooden hives when empty there isn't much in it when they are full of bees and honey.

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I too saw "Who killed the honey bee" and was astounded to see the way they were thrown about, also the "carefully measured" (ahem) hive-tools-of-antibiotic. The comb was even worse than mine (it was inherited with the bees and I've been getting them onto new foundation over the summer).

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Do we know when Omlet are planning on bringing this to the market or at least giving us a sneaky peek?

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My understanding is that in mainland Europe in particular poly hives are really popular - how do they deal with AFB/EFB there?

 

I think, although I can't be totally sure that they treat in the same way as the USA, with antibiotics for AFB, although I'd suspect that they also burn off site in some countries.

 

Americans routinely shovel heaps of antibiotics into their hives, see clear evidence of this on the recent BBC programme "Who Killed the Honey Bee?", the white powder you see shovelled onto the top of the brood chamber at one point in the programme is Oxytetracycline although nothing is said about this in the narration!

 

Who Killed the Honey Bee? is on again next Monday 27th July at 19:30 on BBC Four

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jzjys

 

The standard of bee keeping in the USA shown in this programme is truly dire, from the rough handling, the deep black old comb fit only for the bonfire, the industrial application of drugs and chemicals, the sp"Ooops, word censored!" (really non existent!) forage shown in the desert valley, the extensive use of corn syrup (fructose) rather than sucrose for feeding. The list goes on and on.

 

No wonder their bees are keeling over in their billions.

 

I watched that last time it was on and was shocked at how the bees are treated. The way they are handled when being shipped all over the country. I'm sure that is not helping them be the healthiest bees they can be as I am sure half the time they have no idea where they are or where to find the pollen. So sad to see so many dead. As for the horrible mites they get *ewww* poor, poor bees :(

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I ordered one of these DVDs **Click** from ebay. It came yesterday. It is worth the money.

 

Everything explained very clearly and concisely.

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I spoke to George & James at the New Forest Show yesterday, having been told by Johannes that "We will in all likelyhood have a beehaus at the show...exciting isn't it!?" & they were either incredibly cagey or simply didn't know anything about it! Apparently a launch date & place has been set, but hasn't been announced yet. George said there were pictures on the computers at "HQ" but nothing else has been released..............I am so frustrated!!!

 

Sha x

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I wouldn't worry; their launch dates have been set back before. It'll turn up, they probably just want to make sure that everything is in order first.

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I wouldn't worry; their launch dates have been set back before. It'll turn up, they probably just want to make sure that everything is in order first.

 

Unlike last time with the spoiler cube article. :lol::roll:

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